Synthesis - January-February 2012
In this issue Fr Tolhurst uses Newman's 1852 phrase "The English Church was, and the English Church was not, and the English Church is once again" to reflect upon our current predicament. He evokes a hope for what Newman termed "a restoration in the moral world, such as that which yearly takes place in the physical". In order to recognise that we need such a moral "third spring" it suffices to look at our inability effectively to resist what the November Catholic World Report called the "gay rights juggernaut". Niall Gooch and William Oddie articulately takesuch a "look" in this issue.
Close to the heart of this debate is the ongoing one in our correspondence column over Edward Holloway's claim that the unitive meaning of sex is defined through the procreative. The first words of the extract we feature from Johann Christoph Arnold's forthcoming book, "Sex, God and Marriage", offer a helpful thought. He points out that "the gift of unity, whether with other people or with God, does not depend in any way on marriage". The unitive fruit of the marriage act is not a generic unity. It is a formation of two individuals bound together in the one vocation of potential parenthood, whether or not children are actually given. The too rarely acknowledged implication of perennial and contemporary Churchteaching is that sex cannot be unitive in any positive sense when actively separated from its procreative orientation. As Fr Storey argues in his letter: "sexual activity cannot by itself generate or increase human love."
Our editorial overview of Christian formation in our multifarious Church suggests that the work for such basic coherence in Church teaching is one crucial aspect. Our publication for the first time of Holloway's 1950 prophetic development of the implications of the discovery of the mathematical unity of the cosmos shows another such aspect. Our book reviews in this issue confirm the need for both of these aspects.
We point out in our editorial that "According to Catholic tradition the priority of Wisdom is found in God Himself". This should be acknowledged as we strive to find what we call the appropriate "mutual inflow and interplay of the doctrinal, liturgical, spiritual and practical aspects of Catholic faith and life" which is the proximate goal of that "New Evangelisation" to which the Holy Spirit, through the Pope and Synod of Bishops (see Road from Regensburg), is "urgently" calling us.